A Summer’s Sunday Dinner Menu (Vegetarian too!)



 Sunday I decided to try a few recipes from my latest Bon Appetit magazine. I also decided to make more artisan bread, a strawberry crostada (thanks Lyndsay!), and cherry jam! I managed everything except the jam. (NOTE: I made it on Monday–blog to come).  Other than the corn soup’s bacon garnish, this is a complete vegetarian menu.  Olivia doesn’t eat bacon, so she left it out and still thought it tasted great!

My day started with a trip to the market to pick up all the necessary ingredients. I then called Sean and asked if he and Olivia would like to join us around 4 PM. I over estimated by ability to serve up a 4 course meal by about one hour. Not too bad.

The first course:

Summer Corn Soup w/ Artisan Bread


Second course:

Tomato and Tapenade Tartlets



Third Course:

Chile Rellenos




Fourth Course:

Rustic Strawberry Crostada with Vanilla yogurt ice cream



Even with the air on full blast, my kitchen was a fire pit after all the cooking and baking. Our “guests” thought it was cool 🙂 They retreated to the futon to watch Bizarre Foods w/ Andrew Zimern. His show is great, but I can get a bit grossed out after a while.

RECIPES and Process Photos CLICK HERE:

Summer Corn Soup (adapted from Bon Appetit August 2008)

3 cups whole milk

3 ears fresh corn, kernals cut from cobs, cobs broken in half and reserved

2 Tbsp butter

1/2 lg onion chopped

1 lg carrot, peeled, thinly sliced

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, pressed

2 cups water

2 lg fresh thyme sprigs

1 lg fresh rosemary sprig

1 bay leaf

white pepper


2 thick slices bacon, diced

1/3 cup reserved fresh corn kernals

1 green onion thinly sliced

pinch of cayenne pepper

Creme fraiche, stirred to loosen


Bring milk and corncob halves (not kernels) just to a boil in a heavy med pot. Remove from heat, cover and let steep while sauteing vegetables.

Melt butter in lg saucepan over med heat, add onions; sprinkle w/ salt and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes–do not let onion brown. Add corn kernels, carrot, celery , and garlic. Cook until vegetables are soft stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups water, herb sprigs, bay leaf, and milk with corn cobs. Increase heat and bring to boil.  Cover partially, reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors..

Discard corncobs, herb sprigs, and bay leaf.  Cool soup slightly.  Working in batches, puree soup in blender until very smooth.   Strain into large bowl pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Season soup to taste with salt and white pepper.

DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead.  Cover and chill.

Garnish Cook bacon, drain, and cool.  Mix in corn, green onion, and pinch cayenne.  DO AHEAD can be made two hours ahead.  let stand at room temperature.


Rewarm soup over med heat.  Divide among bowls.  Sprinkle garnish over.  Drizzle w/ creme fraiche and serve.

ABOVE: I served my third loaf of Artisan Bread–sooo good!


Tomato and Tapenade Tartlets (adapted from Bon Appettit August 2008)

1 17.3 oz package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed

1/2 cup tapenade (I use my own recipe, but you can buy it pre-made)

5 ripe medium tomatoes, preferably assorted colors, cut into 1/4 in. slices

12 ounces fresh mozzarella thinly sliced

kosher salt

extra virgin olive oil

balsamic vinegar (i used balsamico)

18 sm. fresh basil leaves

6 green or black pitted olives

Position racks in top third and bottom third of oven. Preheat to 400 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll out first pastry sheet to 13″ x 13″.  Use a 6″ diameter plate to trace /cut around 4 circles.  Transfer 3 of the 4 rounds to the first baking sheet. Place the fourth on the second baking sheet.  Rool out second sheet of pastry 13″x 13″ and cut out two more 6″ circles.  You should now have 3 6″ circles on each sheet.  Pierce each circle with a fork several times.  Top circles with another sheet of parchment.  Place another baking sheet on top of parchment on each sheet.

Place one baking sheet stack on each rack in the oven and bake about 8-10 minutes (watch them close, my first batched burned, so I ended up doing 8 min). Rotate baking sheets and bake another 5-8 minutes( again watch them closely you want them golden not brown at all.)  Remove top baking sheets and parchment papers from tops and allow to bake another 3 minutes if needed to make golden.

Transfer sheets to rack and cool. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead.  Store airtight room temperature.

Increase oven temp to 450 degrees.  Spread a generous tablespoon of tapenade over each round of baked pastry leaving 1/2″ border at edges.  Alternate 4 tomato slices and 4 slices mozzarella atop each pastry in a pinwheel pattern.  Bake until cheese just starts to melt–about 2 minutes (remember this is for fresh mozzarella).  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic.  Arrange a few basil leaves and some sliced olives over top of each.  Serve immediately.

Tapenade (from Giada’s Muffaletta):

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/3 cup olive oil

10 large pitted green olives, chopped

1/3 cup pitted, chopped kalamata olives

1/4 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Gradually blend in the oil. Stir in the olives and roasted peppers. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with salt and pepper.



Strawberry Crostata

My friend took a cooking class from a wonderful farm cooking school in British Columbia on Vancouver Island.  She was kind enough to share some recipes with me!

This crostata would have been a lot prettier if I wasn’t cooking so much food at the same time!  I was trying to prepare it in between the corn soup, bread, and tartlets, and so it had to be thrown into a hot pan which caused spreading taking away the pretty circular form I had rolled.  I also couldn’t basket weave the strips because they were melting from the kitchen heat, so I literally threw them on as they broke apart.  We didn’t care–it tastes damn good and we had fun!   Besides, I think it had a more “rustic” look.

Angelnina’s NOTES: I did adapt the recipe a little.  My method was a bit different in that I didn’t mix the butter in with my hands, I used my food processor and pulsed it in.


 4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar (organic) —I didn’t have organic
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, cold 1/2 inch cubes
2 eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla extract, or the beans from one vanilla pod —I used both extract and half vanilla pod beans
grated zest of one lemon (optional)–I used half a lg lemon zest
1/4 cup milk
Combine the dry ingredients on the board and rub in the butter using your hands. Form a well in the middle.
Add the eggs, vanilla, zsest, and milk in the well and blend with a fork. Gradually add the walls of the well to the wet ingredients until a dough forms. Flatten out slightly, wrap in plastic and transfer to the fridge for at least two hours.
Once the dough has rested remove it from the refrigerator and wait 30 minutes to make it workable. (You can work this dough a little harder as it will come out more like a shortbread than a pie dough)
Preheat the oven to 350.
Roll the dough to the desired thickness using flour to keep it from sticking. –I rolled it to a 16″ circle
Spread jam over the crust. (jam recipe to follow – or you can use your own homemade strawberry jam–I used my own which has a hint of orange citrus zest and liqueur) Place a lattice of dough strips on top–haha no lattice here–just a mess. Bake for about 40 minutes, until golden brown.
Let cool before serving.
I served it with vanilla yogurt ice cream.  Everybody really loved it!  Thanks for sharing Lyndsay:)  Please send me a link if you blog it.

Mark’s Chiles Rellanos (Adapted from cookbook Mexican: Healthy Ways with Favorite Cuisine by Jane Milton)

Mark made these and there is no way I’m going to write out all of those instructions!  I will say he used fresh pablano chiles and rehydrated New Mexico red chiles.  He stuffed them with cheddar, cream cheese, and mashed potatoes.  He then dips them in an egg batter and fries them till cooked.  Mmmmm.  The rellenos made dinner complete! 



I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed all of these dishes. 

Although the corn soup takes some work, it is more than worth it.  The fresh corn and fresh picked herbs (from my own garden) created an amazing soup that I will certainly make again.  Nothing was overpowering.  I added one sprig rather than two of the rosemary because my family likes the taste of rosemary but doesn’t want it to steal the show.  The flavors were perfectly balanced. 

The tartlets are incredibly flavorful.  I’d like to find other tapenade recipes that I like as much as Giada’s.  I’m on the hunt.  The fresh mozzarella is key.  I love Trader Joes because they make it possible for me to make great tasting dishes at affordable prices.

 I subscribe to Bon Appetit and I get excited everytime it comes in the mail.  This year I gave my son a subscription too.  There can never be too many cooks in the family 🙂



12 thoughts on “A Summer’s Sunday Dinner Menu (Vegetarian too!)

  1. Your tapas look delicious! The recipes sound so amazing. The crostata .. looks wonderful.. the lattice turned out very pretty… I like when you can tell that it was homemade. Perfection is unnatural. … at least in my opinion. 🙂 I wish my man made chili rellenos! heavenly! I have a jar of that tapenade in my refridgerator now.. So glad I found your journal, it’s making me a better cook.

    on an odd note. I love your aluminum cake cover you have on your fridge in the picture with Mark!

  2. Thank you 🙂 I wanted to put more effort in the appearance of the crostata since a friend shared her recipe with me, but I think the fact that everybody liked it so much meant nothing was taken away from it. It’s so good with that vanilla yogurt ice cream too!
    I’m sure you’ve always been a great cook, and I’m happy if my blogs motivate other people to cook too–so that is a high compliment –thank you! It’s such a passion of mine I want to share it with eveybody.
    The cake cover has a gorgeous glass plate underneath too. I picked her up at a thirft shop or estate sale (it’s all a blur now) and I really found it practical for both cakes and cookies, so I kept it. I didn’t notice it was in the shot, so I had to take a second look.
    Mark can make some great tamales too. Sometimes he will cook dinner (the boring day to day stuff) when I’m too tired to cook and when he has some time he will do something that takes more time like these–and I’m grateful for it.

  3. Heavenly fare, my friend. I made the artisan bread for Barry and Kurt’s annual 4th of July Bash. Ironically I served it with Kalamata Tapenade. To the bread I added the following: fresh lemon, a dash of sea salt, rosemary, spicy oregano and parsley. Both items were GONE in under 5 minutes. Thanks for that awesome recipe.

  4. You made the bread? Awesome! I can’t say enough about it. Using the convection setting made it even better.
    Thanks for peeking in. I’m canning more jam (right now as a matter of fact) and freezing some of the flats of strawberries and rasperries I picked today. I don’t know what the weather climbed up to, but it felt like a 100 degrees.

  5. HA! Gotta love the “rustic” look 😉 Honestly, I think I prefer it.
    I think you’ll really enjoy those tartlets!
    I’m still canning away. I’m tarred.

  6. Pingback: Bookmarks about Summer

  7. Love this whole menu! That way of cooking the corn cobs in the milk is just how I was taught at a restaurant I worked in. We also made corn blinis that way. We never wasted the cobs. Yum!!!

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